Honey-Rhubarb Tart (paleo, gluten-free)

honey rhubarb tart paleo gluten-free

Paleo or not, sometimes you just need a little something sweet — and if you’re paleo, grabbing my favorite sweet thing, a handful of chocolate chips, isn’t usually possible. Chocolate is paleo, but it can be hard to deal with because of the added milk, soy, and sugar in many brands.

I’ve had this dessert percolating in my head for a long time. Smitten Kitchen’s version of the Easy Jam Tart has consistently been one of my favorite fancy non-chocolate desserts, perfect for serving to parents, friends, future in-laws, whoever. But it’s not gluten-free, it contains a good amount of sugar, and the combination of cornmeal and flour gives the tart a distinct texture that’s hard to mimic.

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Bee Sting Bars (paleo, gluten-free)

paleo honey beesting bars gluten-free

When I went Paleo, I thought I would never eat a bee sting pastry again. That was a pretty big blow. Even after I quit Paleo in favor of a more moderate diet, I figured the amount of refined flour and sugar would make it a “sometimes food” at best…and then my favorite baker moved out of town, taking all of her bee stings with her.

For those of you who have never seen one, a “bee sting” is a German pastry, two layers of yeasted cake filled with vanilla custard with a caramelized almond-honey topping. The one I’ve made was an elaborate production, complete with almost burning the custard and having just an awful time splitting the layers. It was a delicious mess, and one I figured I just wouldn’t deal with again.

Until last week, when David Lebovitz posted a recipe for miella, French snack cakes with the same crunchy almond-honey topping. His use of almond flour piqued my curiosity — could I make a gluten-free, even Paleo, version of my all-time favorite pastry? Continue reading

Stuck-pot rice (gluten-free, meatless)

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You guys know it’s best not to cook in anger, right? Or when you’re in a rush?

Suddenly, utensils go missing, the stove doesn’t work properly, your ingredients end up on the floor, and suddenly the dog has eaten half a bag of peanuts and that’s really bad.* Nothing is easy, nothing goes your way, and everything you do takes twice as long and is twice as frustrating.

My point? Don’t even try to cook this dish in anger or quickly. Continue reading

Snap Pea Salad with Miso (vegan, gluten-free)

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I can hear you as I type this.

“Kate,” you’re saying, “You promised that I would never need to buy a weird ingredient for any of your recipes. What is this miso business?”

Miso is fermented soybean paste. That sounds pretty weird, and I’m sure my mother has already closed her browser. But hear me out. You know how soy sauce adds that ridiculous savory umami flavor to anything you add it to? Miso does that, only about a million times better.

It’s also enjoying kind of a hipster moment; people are putting it in everything from roasted veggies to brownies. Miso is so hot right now. It’s the year of chickpeas, pomegranates, and miso, according to food bloggers worldwide.

So do yourself a favor. Find some miso. It’s probably either near the tofu or the refrigerated curry sauce in your grocery store — maybe by the pickled ginger and the refrigerated salad dressings. Get the white kind, since this is your first time. While you’re there, grab some scallions, peas, Brussels sprouts, and radishes, and then immediately run home and make this recipe.

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It will make you feel like spring isn’t so far away, and it packs perfectly for tomorrow’s lunch, maybe with some of last night’s leftovers. It’s also a really impressive potluck dish, and one no one will feel guilty about scarfing down (except Paleo people, because of the soy).

I adapted this recipe from Deb Perelman’s Snap Pea Salad with Miso in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Instead of buying the cabbage she recommended, I used the Brussels sprouts I had already, and I’ve changed the honey to maple syrup here. Maple and miso are amazing together, and this simple swap makes it strict vegan, for those of you who care. You can also use snow peas if those look better to you.

This is an awesome recipe to test out your knife skills on, by the way. Pick the biggest, sharpest knife in your artillery and go to town.

Snap Pea Salad with Miso
Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, untrimmed
  • 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, halved, trimmed, and thinly sliced
  • 3 radishes, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2 large scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 3 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
Dressing
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp white miso (I’ll give you another recipe to use the rest in later, I promise)
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp tahini (you still have some from the hummus, right?)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seed oil
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the peas for about 2 minutes, until just barely cooked but still crisp. Drain and rinse for 1 minute in very cold water. (This is a lazy man’s blanch, by the way, and Deb is much more by-the-book about her blanching).
  2. Trim pea ends and slice on the bias. Toss in a large bowl with sprouts, radishes, scallions, and 1 Tbsp of the sesame seeds.
  3. Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender or, in my case, my little food chopper, until smooth. Taste and adjust ingredients, if desired. It should taste just a tiny bit too salty.
  4. Toss salad with half of the dressing; taste. Add more if you like, and save the rest for later. Sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds, and dig on in!

Braised Short Ribs

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Short ribs were one of those cuts I was never sure how to deal with. As a former vegetarian, sometimes I have difficulty imagining how to prepare anything that comes from a cow and isn’t steak. It’s a weird gap in my knowledge; give me a whole chicken, and I’ll whack the backbone out of it in no time flat. Give me a boneless leg of lamb and I’ll have it smothered in mint persillade and roasting within the hour.

Now that I have this recipe, though, I am no longer confused. Clearly, the destiny of all short ribs is to be braised in a mixture of cider, stock and balsamic vinegar and served with horseradish-laced parsnips. Braising makes the meat so tender, it falls off the bone if you even breathe on it wrong. The horseradish keeps the creamy parsnips and deep, dark braising liquid from becoming too heavy, while complementing the flavors of the cider perfectly.

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Easy Tomato Sauce

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Reporters talk about stories that fight them; stories that don’t want to come together, no matter how easy the subject matter is or how many sources have been consulted. A story that should take half an hour to write will take two hours, and for no apparent reason.

Recipes can be this way, too. I had this experience over the weekend, when a relatively simple gumbo recipe went rogue on me. I burned the roux and had to remake it — twice — and when I went to pour the broth into all of the other ingredients, I heard a distinct and disgusting plop.

Suffice to say, the broth had spoiled in a spectacular way, despite the fact that it had been freshly purchased from the grocery store that morning. Two turkey thighs, half a bag of frozen okra, an onion, a bell pepper and four links of chorizo made their way to the trash.

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